Made me learn a little bit faster… made my skin a little bit thicker… makes me that much smarter. So thanks for making me a fighter.

This past year has seemed to be the year to prove my strength as a girl (or, as my mother puts it: I don’t need no stinking man). But if life gets throwing me these challenges to prove I can survive anything, the powers that be can stop after Friday night.

I’ve been staying home alone while my parents went away since I was about seventeen. Sometimes my sister would stay behind, but for the most part she would go with my parents on their short weekend trips. It’s never been an issue. Sometimes I would have people over, including my ex-boyfriend, but a lot of the time I was completely alone inside my big empty house. I’ve actually come to enjoy these times alone, being able to just relax, pretend I own the whole place. Walk around in my underwear, if I feel like it. And I’ve always felt safe. Always.

Friday night was another night just like that. Mom and Dad had been gone since Wednesday, and after working a hellish day of Midnight Madness, I returned home, put on comfy closes, and ordered sushi. Originally my favorite person was going to come over and watch some movies, but I just wasn’t feeling good after my day. I told him I would probably crash early, finished half my food, then laid in bed for a while watching Angel. Nothing was out of the ordinary, but I do remember feeling slightly uneasy, checking to make sure doors were looked 2 more times (which, I always do when I’m home alone) and joking with the dog “better check again, don’t want any one to break in and get us while we’re sleeping.” I even tucked puppy into her “big girl” bed, instead of her kennel, which my parents have been meaning to try but haven’t had a chance because my Dad’s job wakes him up so early. And then I crawled into my own bed, wrapped myself in blankets and pillows, and put on another episode of Angel. It was only 11:30, and I was exhausted.

I’m not sure what it was that woke me up–the opening of my parent’s closet door, or the light pouring in from the hallway–but I woke up. And my first thought when I saw that not only was the hallway light on, but my parent’s room, was: “Hey, I didn’t leave that on.” And then I saw him: a guy, walking through my hallway, from my mom’s dressing room into my parent’s room. Groggily I realized: there are people in the house. There are strange men in the house. Remaining in the safety of the shadows of my bed, I yelled out: WHO THE HELL IS IN MY HOUSE! followed by, even louder: GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE! And they did.The two of them took of running, hands full, ran down two flights of stairs and straight out the front door. Immediately I ran to the window, trying to get a better look of them, and making sure I knew what direction they fled in.

I’ve never been in a situation like this before. And my first reaction as I walked into my living room, noticing my Wii was still sitting on the fireplace, was: I need to call my sister. When she didn’t answer only the did it occur to me that I needed to call 911.

The police were there quickly. One of my biggest fears was that they had taken my puppy (silly I know) but she had hid behind the cabinet when they turned on the kitchen light, and I couldn’t find her. I actually told the woman on 911: “They stole my dog.” Embarrassing, but I already felt so violated (and by this point had moved into shock) that it seemed entirely possibly they could have taken her, or worse, just tossed her outside to keep from barking. Thankfully I hadn’t put her in her kennel, where she would have been sure to bark when they turned on the lights. So she hide behind the cabinet, only coming out when she realized it was me. Not quite a guard dog, but that’s okay.

The police figure I scared them off when I started yelling, and thankfully they didn’t see that it wasn’t the 350 pound woman I sounded like, but 102 pounds me. Even still, the female constable that first showed up at the house told my mom that I was “one tough girl”, which is kind of cool. What I did could have ended quite badly, considering I was corner in my bedroom, but thankfully these assholes were cowards. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop them before they completely ransacked my mother’s good jewelry and stole all her good jewelry. However, and thankfully, they didn’t get certain sentimental things, like my grandmother’s jewelry. A small mercy. Still it doesn’t replace what they did take. Not the jewelry–that’s just stuff. But our sense of safety in our own home. And that: my ability to feel safe in my own bed, sleep, my parent’s sense of trust in our neighborhood will take a long time to be replaced. As in, I had trouble sleeping last night with my parent’s back home, and after I took a nighttime allergy pill.

I may have come off as tough, but the truth is my hands are still shaking. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug, but when it wears off, I’m still me. It is nice to know though that in a crisis, I can hold my own. No crying, no hiding, no running scared. However, I have decided without a doubt I’m taking self defense classes. I may feel like I learned a lot about fighting from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I wanted to really know how to protect myself. Thankfully, I have a brother in law that teaches self defense to the security companies around town.

But what has this lesson taught me? I’m a fucking superhero. Don’t you ever forget.

(Now I’ll take that justice league membership now, kay thanks.)

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